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Intimidation of secularists

The staging of a raid on Peoples’ Houses’ members who have been promoting secularism in the aftermath of the massacre in Ortaköy and the arrest of our newspaper’s trainee reporter Ayşegül Başar have met with a stern reaction from the CHP. Deputy Chair, Veli Ağbaba, has spoken of the Interior Ministry arresting young people who defend secularism rather than hunting down jihadist barbarians.
Yayınlanma tarihi: 04 Ocak 2017 Çarşamba, 11:01

CHP Istanbul MP, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, reacting to the arrests of Peoples’ Houses members who were speaking about secularism in Okmeydanı following the Ortaköy attack and that of our newspaper’s trainee reporter Ayşegül Başar, has inquired, ‘Does a citizen speaking about secularism fall under the remit of the fight against terror?’ CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu has also said in a message he posted on Twitter: ‘It is unjust and immoral for our young people who are trying to explain the importance of secularism in a peaceful manner to be branded as terrorists and targeted.’

Peoples’ Houses’ members who were going from coffee shop to coffee shop explaining the importance of secularism, accompanied by a group of friends, in Istanbul Okmeydanı, as well as our newspaper’s trainee reporter Ayşegül Başar, have been arrested. CHP Deputy Chair, Veli Ağbaba, has said, ‘The arresting by the Interior Ministry of young people who defend secularism rather than hunting down the jihadist barbarians who commit massacres clearly spells out the AKP’s mentality. According to those in power, people who promote secularism are perceived to be more dangerous than the barbarian enemies of humanity and enemies of civilisation. Has the Interior Ministry, which targets young people who want secularism, commenced any kind of investigation into those who for days promoted massacre with reference to New Year? Has it embarked on any examination into those people who praised the attack after the massacre? The place that such a state of affairs will take our country is the Afghanistan of the Taliban. The AKP’s dream is a dictatorial regime governed through religious fascism.’

 If you are powerful enough ...’

Ağbaba went on to comment as follows: ‘If you are powerful enough, detain us, not children and young people. Do what you will. We will not permit you to divide this country and demolish this Republic.’

Tanrıkulu, for his part, is seeking answers to the following questions in a written parliamentary question he has submitted for reply by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, ‘Since when has defending secularism or making propaganda in support of secularism been considered to be a crime? Does a citizen speaking about secularism fall under the remit of the fight against terror? How many reports have been made to the Interior Ministry in the whole of Turkey on a province by province basis over the past year about the defence of secularism or making propaganda in support of secularism?’

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Cumhuriyet Arşivi Gazete Kupürlerinde:

Veli Ağbaba, Süleyman Soylu